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Breast implant-associated squamous cell carcinoma (BIA-SCC) is a type of cancer that can develop in the scar tissue or fluid around breast implants. It is extremely rare, with only a few hundred cases reported worldwide. However, as a precaution, patients with breast implants should monitor their breasts for any changes, including swelling, pain, or lumps.

Breast augmentation is a hugely popular procedure across the world. And, the vast majority of procedures are completed without any long-term adverse effects. But the small risk of your implants being the cause of a serious condition is worth considering before you opt for surgery. In particular, this is in light of other, similar malignancies such as breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell carcinoma (BIA-ALCL).

Dr. Michael Howard is a board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon who performs DIEP flap breast reconstruction for women who have undergone mastectomy. For more information, and to book a personal consultation with Dr. Howard at our Lake Forest, Chicago, or Glenview office, contact us online or call (224) 271-4250.


Squamous cell carcinoma is a type of malignant tumor that arises from the abnormal growth of cells in the body. BIA-SCC is a rare type of cancer that can occur in patients who have undergone breast reconstruction or breast augmentation with implants. First described in case reports in the early 1990s,  it represents just 0.1% of breast-related carcinomas. (1)(2)  

While breast cancer is a widely known risk associated with breast implants, the incidence of breast implant-associated squamous cell carcinoma is even rarer. The risk factors for this cancer are not yet fully understood, but it is believed to be linked to textured implants. Textured implants have a rougher surface than smooth implants and may increase the risk of inflammation and infection due to their porous nature. It is important to note that while BIA-SCC is a rare occurrence, patients should still be aware of the potential health risks associated with breast implants. 


Symptoms of BIA-SCC can include:

  • Changes in breast appearance
  • Swelling
  • Asymmetry
  • Nipple discharge
  • Discomfort around the breast or implant area

Some patients have described the feelings of discomfort as acute, with unilateral (both breasts) breast pain and enlargement.

When Should I Get Checked?

Although BIA-SCC is an uncommon diagnosis, it is important for patients to understand if they are at a higher risk. Doctors recommend checking for SCC of the breast in patients with: (2)

  • A history of breast implants 
  • Multiple post-implant complications
  • Insidious onset of breast pain
  • Hardening of the soft tissues of the breast (induration)

BIA-SCC Diagnosis

Diagnosis of breast implant-associated squamous cell carcinoma typically involves a mammogram, biopsy, and potentially a lumpectomy or mastectomy. Treatment options may include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of both. In some cases, removal of the implant and surrounding tissue may be necessary.

Should a mastectomy be recommended, a DIEP flap breast reconstruction can help patients to look and feel whole once more.

DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction

Breast reconstruction is an essential procedure for women who have undergone a mastectomy or lumpectomy due to breast cancer or a similar condition like BIA-ALCL, or BIA-SCC. One of the most advanced and innovative techniques available today is DIEP flap breast reconstruction. The DIEP (Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator) flap technique is a complex microsurgical procedure that utilizes the patient’s abdominal tissue to reconstruct the breast.

DIEP flap breast reconstruction can be performed immediately after a mastectomy or at a later time. It can also be combined with oncoplastic surgery to achieve optimal breast symmetry and shape. Nipple reconstruction can also be performed as a separate procedure.

At Michael Howard Plastic Surgery, we are committed to providing our patients with the highest quality care and achieving the best possible outcomes. If you are interested in learning more about DIEP flap reconstruction or would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Howard, please contact our office at (224) 271-4250. 

Personal Consultation

During your consultation, Dr. Howard will review your medical history and examine the condition of your chest area to determine if you are a candidate for DIEP flap reconstruction. He will evaluate your unique situation and provide a personalized treatment plan based on his findings.

DIEP flap reconstruction is a complex procedure that requires a high level of skill and experience. Dr. Howard has extensive training in microsurgery and has performed numerous successful DIEP flap procedures. His surgical skill and artistry ensure that patients achieve their desired results. He will take the time to answer all of your questions and address any concerns you may have about the surgery.

Dr. Howard will discuss the breast reconstruction options available to you at your personal consultation. To learn more about different DIEP flap techniques, please see our website.


DIEP flap breast reconstruction uses autologous tissue from the lower abdomen to reconstruct the breast mound after a mastectomy. It is a microsurgery technique that involves transferring blood vessels, skin, and fat from the abdomen to the chest area.

During the procedure, Dr. Michael Howard will use a muscle-sparing technique to carefully remove tissue from the lower abdomen without damaging the abdominal muscles. This tissue, known as a perforator flap, is then transferred to the chest area along with its blood vessels. This allows for a natural-looking breast reconstruction using the patient’s own tissue.

Compared to other types of flap surgery, such as TRAM flap or free flap, DIEP flap surgery has the advantage of preserving the abdominal muscles, resulting in less abdominal weakness and faster recovery time. Additionally, this technique can also be combined with tummy tuck surgery to improve the contour of the abdomen.


Recovery from DIEP flap surgery depends on individual factors such as age, overall health, and the extent of the procedure. Generally, patients will be required to stay in the hospital for several days following their operation. You may experience some discomfort, swelling, and bruising during the first few weeks of your recovery, and Dr. Howard will provide medication to help manage any pain you may experience.

It is essential to follow Dr. Howard’s post-operative instructions carefully to ensure a smooth recovery process. Rest is essential. Patients should avoid any strenuous physical activity for several weeks following their surgery, allowing ample time for healing. Dr. Howard will schedule follow-up appointments with you to monitor your progress and address any concerns you may have.


Once fully recovered, you can expect to see natural-looking results that restore symmetry and contour to the breast area. With improved confidence and self-esteem, patients can return to their daily routine with renewed optimism and a sense of empowerment. If you are considering DIEP flap breast reconstruction, Dr. Howard can provide you with detailed information about the procedure and answer any questions you may have.

Cost of DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction in Lake Forest, IL

At Michael Howard Plastic Surgery, we are committed to providing the highest standard of care and services for our patients. If you have been diagnosed with BIA-SCC, or are considering breast reconstruction surgery using the DIEP flap technique, we understand that cost is an important factor to consider. During your consultation with Dr. Howard, he will discuss the details of the procedure and provide you with a personalized estimate that suits your needs.

If you are interested in learning more about DIEP flap breast reconstruction or scheduling a consultation with Dr. Howard, please contact us at (224) 271-4250. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you on your journey to feeling confident and beautiful.

If you are interested in more information regarding breast reconstruction, read Dr. Howard’s blog.


Are BIA-ALCL and BIA-SCC similar conditions?

BIA-ALCL is a type of cancer that can develop in the scar tissue around breast implants, while BIA-SCC is a rare form of skin cancer that can occur around the surface of the implant. Both conditions are serious and require prompt medical attention.

What causes BIA-SCC?

The exact cause of BIAS-CC is not yet fully understood, but it is believed to be related to chronic inflammation caused by breast implants.

Can BIAS-CC be prevented?

While there is no surefire way to prevent BIA-SCC, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of developing this rare cancer. These include choosing a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon for your breast augmentation procedure, opting for smooth rather than textured implants, and staying vigilant about monitoring for any changes in your breast tissue or overall health.

When should I speak to a doctor about BIA-SCC?

It’s important to note that BIA-SCC is not a common complication of breast augmentation surgery. However, if you do experience any symptoms such as changes in the texture or appearance of your breast, unusual swelling or pain, or new lumps or bumps, it’s important to seek medical attention right away.


  1. Buchanan PJ, Chopra VK, Walker KL, Rudolph R, Greco RJ. Primary Squamous Cell Carcinoma Arising From a Breast Implant Capsule: A Case Report and Review of the Literature. Aesthetic Surgery Journal. Published online April 6, 2018. doi: 
  2. Zhou YM, Chaudhry HE, Shah A, Andrews J. Breast Squamous Cell Carcinoma Following Breast Augmentation. Cureus. Published online October 3, 2018. doi: